In traditional software development, the team follows a project management lifecycle whether it is a waterfall, agile, or a combination of both. Following a process helps to reduce the risk so the final product is delivered on time and within budget. By establishing a change management process and configuration management organization, you’ll have a better chance at achieving project success.
This has been true of typical desktop software development, but our industry is rapidly changing to just-in-time application updates to the cloud. Cloud-based project management imposes a new set of assumptions and constraints. As a result, there are risks and pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid.
Project Management Tools Supporting Cloud Computing
With cloud development, software applications are developed and managed in a virtual space known as the cloud. Cloud development represents a new consumption model where the software is accessed by a user through a web browser instead of the software being installed and executed on a user’s computer. This is a different model from a desktop, tablet, or phone apps that utilize cloud-based services primarily to exchange data.
Technology companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are competing to provide their own cloud-based service offerings. As a result of this evolving trend, tools that manage these software projects are now becoming part of cloud solutions offering various project portfolio management (PPM) capabilities.
This leads to the question of whether technology organizations are prepared for the cloud. Do they have better process management to perform the transition from traditional software development and are IT teams ready for the transition?
Having a well-defined and sophisticated cloud-centric PPM will help the client manage and deliver cloud development. A PPM toolkit stored in the cloud will enable all the stakeholders to access the relevant data in real-time. Online tool access enables the project to begin quickly with reduced cost during the project lifecycle.
A robust PPM can enable better standardization and continuous improvement of a centrally-located PPM toolkit’s services within an enterprise project management office. As a result, any changes or updates can be made available to consumers in an efficient manner. This online deployment capability gives the project manager a much more efficient delivery mechanism. This also introduces widespread customer risk if deployment doesn’t go as expected
Redefining Project Management Roles
Adapting traditional project management may not be the right solution for cloud-based software development, as it involves components that require both traditional and agile methodologies.
A cloud project can encounter several challenges:
- Obtaining security buy-in from the program leadership team to implement the cloud
- Implementing and establishing a proper governance process to manage data security in the cloud environment
- Adhering to vendor protocols so the infrastructure is implemented according to the guidelines and requirements
- Business continuity planning to avoid any failover surprises
- Assessing proper risks and determining return on investment to cloud sponsors
How the Cloud Benefits Project Management
The benefits of having more effective PPM through cloud computing depends on the capability of organizations to centralize and manage cloud projects that are accessible from a centralized location. By using the cloud, project managers can perform daily functions in the central repository available to all stakeholders. This will significantly reduce the overall time to execute the project management activities.
Agile Methodologies for the Cloud
Not unlike agile methodology used for software product development, each component of a product under development has to be tested and validated in cycles thoroughly until the final product is ready for delivery.
In a rapid-development agile process, customers may have to compromise on certain features that are deemed less important to ensure timely project completion. Failure to attempt to include every scope, whether important or not, can then cause unnecessary risk of additional cost overrun and can also delay the delivery of the product to the end customer. Figure 1 shows how these processes relate for cloud-based development.
Figure 1: Project management for cloud-based development